My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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The Final Ground Beef Dish From My 20 Pound Stash, And It Can Be A Freezer Meal!

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Sorry it took me so long to write this post about the final thing I made with my Zaycon Premium Ground Beef.  (The first two are here, pressure canned ground beef, and here, pre-made hamburger patties.)  What did I do with the final bit of ground beef?  I made Shepherd’s Pie.  For those unfamiliar with Shepherd’s Pie, it is a meat pie with a potato “crust” of sorts.  It originated in Great Britain and is enjoyed worldwide.

 

One thing I love about making Shepherd’s Pie is that I can make several at once which allows me to buy larger quantities of the basic ingredients and save a ton of money.  Another thing I love is that it is pretty fast and easy, and it is made with mostly shelf stable ingredients.  Even with the processed ingredients, it is better than fast food and many other ultra processed meals.  Sometimes, the day is so crazy that I’m thrilled that I got some sort of homemade food on the table.  This is better than a lot of other quick and easy things I could serve, so it’s guilt free for me.  Sure, if I were so inclined, I could make some of the canned items this calls for, but I don’t have to and I haven’t done it yet.  Maybe someday.  Baby steps, right?

 

Let me begin with the recipe.

 

Shepherd's Pie just before putting it in the oven.

Shepherd’s Pie just before putting it in the oven.

 

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook

 

1 pound ground beef (or ground meat of choice.  I’ve done a 1/2 turkey and 1/2 ground beef Shepherd’s Pie, and it was delicious!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon dried onion (can use 1/2 c fresh diced onion)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 28-oz can cut green beans, drained (you can use fresh, but you will probably want to add more salt, because this recipe takes into consideration the salt in the canned beans)

1 10 3/4 oz can tomato soup, condensed

4-8 servings of instant mashed potatoes, prepared, depending on your preference (you may use fresh mashed potatoes instead)

1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, depending on your preference

 

 

Brown ground beef in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, when beef begins to brown.  When meat is almost cooked through, add salt and pepper and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Transfer ground beef mixture into a greased 9″x13″ baking dish.  Top with drained green beans.  Spread condensed tomato soup over beans.  Do not reconstitute the soup!  Spread prepared instant potatoes (or fresh mashed potatoes) over the mixture.  Top with grated cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.

 

If freezing, stop after you spread the potatoes over the mixture.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and label.  When read to serve, place Shepherd’s Pie in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, remove foil, and sprinkled grated cheese on top.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pie is heated through.

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

I began by gathering my ingredients.  You will notice that the cheese is missing, because I was planning to freeze all three pies.

I began by gathering my ingredients. You will notice that the cheese is missing, because I was planning to freeze all three pies.

 

I cut off about 3 pounds of meat from my 10 pound tube.

I cut off about 3 pounds of meat from my 10 pound tube.

 

I transferred that huge hunk of meat to my pan and started browning the meat.

I transferred that huge hunk of meat to my pan and started browning the meat.

 

Once I broke up the meat and it started to brown, I added the dried onion.  (Please note that I am tripling the recipe above.)

Once I broke up the meat and it started to brown, I added the dried onion. (Please note that I am tripling the recipe above.)

 

When the meat was almost cooked through, I added the salt and pepper and continued to cook the meat.

When the meat was almost cooked through, I added the salt and pepper and continued to cook the meat.

 

Once the meat was cooked through, I was ready to almost assemble my Shepherd's pie.

Once the meat was cooked through, I was ready to almost assemble my Shepherd’s pie.

 

The only thing left to do was make the mashed potatoes.  I used Idahoan Instant Red Mashed Potatoes.  You may use the mashed potato recipe of your choice.

The only thing left to do was make the mashed potatoes. I used Idahoan Instant Red Mashed Potatoes. You may use the mashed potato recipe of your choice.

 

With everything ready, I set up my pans. I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I'd like and still have pans to use for every day cooking. I get these at Costco or Sam's Club. They're around $6.50 for 30 pans which works about to just under 22 cents a pan.

With everything ready, I set up my pans. I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I’d like and still have pans to use for every day cooking. I get these at Costco or Sam’s Club. They’re around $6.50 for 30 pans which works about to just under 22 cents a pan.

 

With everything ready, I set up my pans.  I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I'd like and still have pans to use for every day cooking.  I get these at Costco or Sam's Club.  They're about $8 for 18 pans.

Next, I split the meat evenly between the pans.

 

Then came the green beans.

Then came the green beans.

 

And the tomato soup.

And the tomato soup.

 

And, finally, the mashed potatoes were spread on top of the other ingredients.

And, finally, the mashed potatoes were spread on top of the other ingredients.

 

I covered the pans with foil, labeled them, and put them in the freezer.

I covered the pans with foil, labeled them, and put them in the freezer.

 

On Saturday, I decided to pull out a Shepherd's Pie for dinner.  Please note that the instructions I wrote on the top of the pan differ from the ones I listed with the recipe.  When I cooked this before, I didn't keep track of my exact method, so I wrote down what I thought it was.  However, after trying it on Saturday, I realized it would have turned out better if I'd turned the oven up to a higher temperature.  My recipe (above) reflects that change.

On Saturday, I decided to pull out a Shepherd’s Pie for dinner. Please note that the instructions I wrote on the top of the pan differ from the ones I listed with the recipe. When I cooked this before, I didn’t keep track of my exact method, so I wrote down what I thought it was. However, after trying it on Saturday, I realized it would have turned out better if I’d turned the oven up to a higher temperature. My recipe (above) reflects that change.

 

After about an hour, I removed the pan from the oven, removed the foil, and sprinkled the sharp cheddar on top.

After about an hour, I removed the pan from the oven, removed the foil, and sprinkled the sharp cheddar on top.

 

See?  It took another 30 minutes in the oven before it was ready to serve.

See? It took another 30 minutes in the oven before it was ready to serve.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the completed dish for you.  We had unexpected guests for dinner, and I just plain old forgot.  Oops!  I promise I’ll take a picture next time and share it with you.   Being able to pull a pre-made dinner from the freezer made it easy to accommodate last minute dinner guests.  Dinner was a success, and it didn’t require too much work.  I simply made a quick salad and cut up a loaf of fresh, homemade bread (recipe here), and dinner was ready!

Do you have any favorite freezer meals that are your “go-to” meals? 

If not, what would you like to learn to make ahead of time and freeze?

 

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What’s A Gal To Do With 20 Pounds of Ground Beef?

Perhaps the title caused you to wonder, “Why would anyone buy 20 pounds of ground beef at once?”  Well, I have four sons.  They eat like there’s no tomorrow.  I buy in bulk to save money, and because I can often get a higher quality product when I am willing to buy in bulk.  (I bought my meat from Zaycon. Click here to learn more.)  The only problem is repacking the food for long term storage and breaking it up into usable, meal sized portions.

 

Yesterday, I showed you how I use my pressure canner to can some of my huge stash of ground beef.

 

Pressure Canned Ground Beef

Pressure Canned Ground Beef.  See how here.

 

Today, I’m going to show you a super simple way to use ground beef and make life easier in the process, especially for those with teenagers.  What teenager doesn’t like a hamburger?  Yes, I know that there are many vegetarians out there, but most teenagers, boys especially, down burgers like there’s no other food group.  My boys inhale them.  Literally.  Okay, not literally (Sorry Captain Literally!), but it sure seems like it.  If I make hamburgers, they’re gone the second they hit the plate.  If we go to In-N-Out, they want Double-Doubles.  (Or Triple-Triples, Four-by-Fours.  You get the picture.)

 

To help fill the tummies of my boys, I made some homemade hamburger patties and stuck them in the freezer for quick, easy meals.  It took me less than 10 minutes to prep the patties and put them in the freezer for another day.  These frozen hamburger patties will help keep the teenage hungries away, at least for a little bit.  They also make a quick and easy meal for the family on busy nights.  I can have the food on the table within 10 minutes (including making a salad or another veggie to go with dinner).

 

First up, here’s the recipe.

 

 

Cooked hamburger patties in a hamburger bun.

Cooked hamburger patties in a hamburger bun.

 

 

Hamburger Patties

 

2 pounds lean ground beef (I used 93/7)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or seasoning of choice)

 

Mix salt and steak seasoning into the ground beef.  Form into 8 equal sized balls.  Take one ball and put it on a piece of parchment or wax paper.  Fold paper over the ball and use the back of a plate to press the patty flat.  Repeat until all balls are formed into patties.  Place patties in a ziplock bag and put in your freezer.  Pull them out as needed, cook, and serve.

 

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

I started by gathering my ingredients together.  Please note that I doubled the recipe and am using 4 pounds of lean ground beef.

I started by gathering my ingredients together. Please note that I doubled the recipe and am using 4 pounds of lean ground beef.

 

I put the beef in a bowl and added the salt and steak seasoning.

I put the beef in a bowl and added the salt and steak seasoning.

 

I find that mixing the meat by hand better distributes the seasoning throughout the meat.

I find that mixing the meat by hand better distributes the seasoning throughout the meat.  While I was doing this, my son was cutting sheets of parchment paper.

 

I divided the meat (remember I'm working with 4 pounds) into 16 relatively equal balls.

I divided the meat (remember I’m working with 4 pounds) into 16 relatively equal balls.

 

To form the balls into patties, I put one ball on a piece of parchment paper.

To form the balls into patties, I put one ball on a piece of parchment paper.

 

Next, I folded the paper over the ball.

Next, I folded the paper over the ball.

 

Next, using a large plate, I pressed down evenly on the ball in the parchment paper.

Next, using a large plate, I pressed down evenly on the ball in the parchment paper.

 

See?  The patty is ready!

See? The patty is ready!

 

Because I had so many hamburger patties, I used a 2-gallon zip-lock bag.  I pressed out the excess air, sealed the bag, and stuck it in my freezer.

Because I had so many hamburger patties, I used a 2-gallon zip-lock bag. I pressed out the excess air, sealed the bag, and stuck it in my freezer.

 

Yesterday, my youngest wanted a burger for lunch, so I pulled it one of the patties out of the freezer and preheated a non-stick skillet.

Yesterday, my youngest wanted a burger for lunch, so I pulled it one of the patties out of the freezer and preheated a non-stick skillet.

 

I put the patty in the preheated skillet and put a lid on the pan to allow the patty to cook evenly.

I put the patty in the preheated skillet and put a lid on the pan to allow the patty to cook evenly.

 

When it was ready, I flipped the patty, so it could cook on the other side.

When it was ready, I flipped the patty, so it could cook on the other side.

 

Within 5 minutes of pulling the hamburger patty from the freezer, my son was eating it!  Now, that's fast food!

Within 5 minutes of pulling the hamburger patty from the freezer, my son was eating it! Now, that’s fast food!

Have you ever made freezer meals to make your life easier? 

Think you might want to try this with ground beef (or the meat of your choice)?

 

 

 

* * * This post contains an affiliate link for Zaycon Foods.  Please visit my about page (here) to find out more about affiliate links. * * *